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  1. #1
    JustMe is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Default Update in #7-fired dd's therapist

    Dd is a complex child. Part of this is because her challenges are not really obvious and on top of that she is quite good at performing. She does not want people to know certain things and is quite good at having things appear otherwise.

    I just started her with a new therapist. As far as local resources, he seems to be one of the only--of not the only--who has expertise in dealing with some of her issues. I have seen him work with her a few times, and feel this is really true...he does have some knowledge/skills that others around here don't.

    The problem is that he is quick to label, categorize and give his expert "opinion" (which a lot of times ends up feeling more factual than like an opinion". For example, when he asked how I thought she was doing, and I responded really well, but she is anxious. He then told me her anxiety is normal. Um, no its not...and on top of being her mother, knowing there is more to her than what you see, I am an experienced mental health professional. I know what is "normal" and what is over the top. He also said she is not nearly as "intense" as some of the kids he works with because she does not set fires, destroy things, etc. No, she doesn't she is more subtle than that and I am not saying my daughter is in the same category as that, but he seems to be quickly making assessments of her without having the full story.

    Another problem is that this is pretty much done in front of my daughter. Last time I asked to speak to him while my daughter played in the room and we talked outside. I explained some of these things to him, mostly in the form of "I want you to know that there is more to her than you are observing, but I cannot tell you all of it in front of her". We agreed we need to meet more without her, but in the end I do think this will be his style..if you know what I mean? I ask a lot more question, get parents input a whole lot more before I come to any kind of conclusion, opinion and, while I think we can get closer, in the end I don't think I will change his style.

    So, do I just deal with it or do I continue to give feedback. He asks for feedback, always wants to know how I think it is going (but this is when he will sometimes be dismissive of what I said). In the end, I need my daughter to benefit from working with him. She would benefit more if he understood her better with my input, though. WWYD? Thanks!
    Last edited by JustMe; 06-26-2012 at 12:05 AM.
    lucky single mom to 18 yr old dd and 15 yr old ds through 2 very different adoption routes

  2. #2
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    Since you said that this therapist is the only one with the certain qualifications you were looking for, I would make more of an effort to work with him that I might otherwise. Be firm and calmly insistent when younger telling him about specific things, such as the anxiety is not normal for YOUR daughter. Call him on it when he asks for feedback but is then dismissive.

    I often have the feeling that I am not a typical parent, if there is such a thing, of my special needs child - so many of the professionals I deal with seem to have a set way of interacting with parents, and it just doesn't work for me. So hopefully you can convince this therapist to work with you in a way that works for YOU, not just the way they're used to working.

    I also wonder if there is an assumption that I also have some of whatever my child has, for example ADHD, by the professional that I'm working with. I don't, because I'm an adoptive mom too ( though I have plenty of my own baggage, lol).

    I hope you are able to work things out. I changed DS1's psychiatrist because I felt he was dismissive of my concerns, and of DS's concerns, too. But even he gave in when I presented a clear argument to him, and held firm. (slighty different scenario since we were discussion medications, which I've posted about before).

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    JustMe is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Thanks, Pepper! Very good advice. I totally agree and feel that a lot of professionals have a "way" of working with parents that just doesn't fit for me (and probably wouldn't fit for a lot of parents here). Sometimes I wonder if I need to bring my resume in for them to get how ridiculous it is for them to talk to me the way they do; although in the end I am even more offended as a parent than as a professional!
    lucky single mom to 18 yr old dd and 15 yr old ds through 2 very different adoption routes

  4. #4
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    My boys have had so many therapists over the last 9 years I have been a mother that I just cannot name all of them. Some listen. Some like to hear themselves talk. I've had some who try to tell me about my child when I know they don't have all the necessary FACTS. I have found that working with them and being firm but polite has worked.

    A good case in point is with a teacher not a therapist. She stated that a procedure the previous teachers had used with my son was "excessive". I was at first taken aback but said nothing (had plenty to say in my head). I knew that she would be working with DS1 and it would become very apparent that she would need to change HER way of thinking. And yes it wasn't too long before he was doing what she thought was excessive. Now there were slight changes to the procedure but she did have to bend.

    It sounds like you really are in a place where you need to work with this therapist. Anytime he wants to talk with you ask that it be away from your child. If he starts to talk and it is in front of your child remind him that you would prefer these conversations to be separate. Be that broken record. And you may need to be blunt. If he continues to talk in front of your child then ask him if there is a reason. Maybe he wants to prompt the child to provide an answer as to why you say one thing and he observes another. I can't tell you how many times I have seen in the waiting room where the parent says something and the therapist turns to the child and asks "why, what, who, how can we work on that during our time together" etc..

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    I can't help but wonder the following: Does he know you are a mental health professional? Because if he does, maybe he is asserting his expertise, in a way, with you. And if he does not know, then maybe some of the terminology you are using and observations you are making he is brushing off as an armchair mental health professional rather than the real one that you are.

    I would continue to try to work with him and schedule a full session dedicated just to you and he discussing your dc. After, maybe you can split sessions moving foward where in the beginning you discuss your opinions/observations without dd in the room, then bring her in where he can work with her. Also, would it be helpful to get input from teachers/other adults if your dd is exhibiting concerning behaviors in school or other settings, this way he is getting a better flavor for her issues rather than simply by observing in his office?
    DD1 - 1996
    DD2 - 1999
    DD3 - 2005

    Surfaces are for working, not for storing. - Peter Walsh

  6. #6
    JustMe is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkmomagain View Post
    I can't help but wonder the following: Does he know you are a mental health professional? Because if he does, maybe he is asserting his expertise, in a way, with you. And if he does not know, then maybe some of the terminology you are using and observations you are making he is brushing off as an armchair mental health professional rather than the real one that you are.

    I would continue to try to work with him and schedule a full session dedicated just to you and he discussing your dc. After, maybe you can split sessions moving foward where in the beginning you discuss your opinions/observations without dd in the room, then bring her in where he can work with her. Also, would it be helpful to get input from teachers/other adults if your dd is exhibiting concerning behaviors in school or other settings, this way he is getting a better flavor for her issues rather than simply by observing in his office?
    Thanks, yes this is all very true! He does know I am a mental health professional, but I have not really super-stressed it as I feel first of all I deserve respect as her MOTHER! However, now I feel I almost need to show him my resume. I am serious, do you think that's a bad idea. I am always worried about obnxious/being "that mom", but if I don't he may really miss the boat.

    Anyway, I will remain calm and continue to push for more time with him without dd so I can explain things. I think he heard what I said last time but, at the same time, some of this is his style.

    Snowbunnies, I know what you mean when you say maybe he is doing this for a reason (i.e. the waiting room example you gave), but in this case I dont think that's whats going on. I feel its more an underawareness of who both dd and I are combined with that feeling being an expert and that the parent wants his expert opinion on things.
    lucky single mom to 18 yr old dd and 15 yr old ds through 2 very different adoption routes

  7. #7
    JustMe is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    I posted this in the lounge, so I assume you will all see it, but just in case...

    I went to talk to him today and ended up firing him. Those who suggested this were absolutely right and the only good thing I can say is that his ego is so big that it was clear to me this was the right choice.

    I started out by saying what I thought was going well, and then voiced concerns that he might not be comfortable with the kind of parent-therapist collaboration I was asking for. He replied that he felt like I was micromanaging him. His reason was basically that I gave feedback. So, I guess when he asks how its going, my answer was always supposed to be "great". Not happening.

    The other interesting thing is that I do think my dream was very intuitive. when I told him we were done, he really tried to drag things out, and said "see what I mean" because I didn't want to keep going round and round. I explained that I felt sure we couldn't work together and there was nothing else to discuss. It felt very similar to the guy I mentioned in a former city, as he also would just not disengage when I clearly told him we were done.

    So, I am glad I feel clear about this but am not scared we won't find a good fit.
    lucky single mom to 18 yr old dd and 15 yr old ds through 2 very different adoption routes

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